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Friday, January 16, 2015

Consumer Christian or Servant?

While my Mom was driving down the road yesterday, we started talking about seeing beyond ourselves.  How do we as Christians get beyond living, giving, praying, interceding for ourselves?  When do we have enough and stop living a Consumer Christian life and start being a servant?  

If we can never get past seeing our own needs and wants than we will forever be needy and greedy. We become hoarders.  When we refuse to give because we are fearful that someone might have something we don't, our hearts become hardened to the needs of others and our ability to truly see becomes altered and filtered through selfish lenses.  

Not a good look

As Christians, we are instructed to be servants...servants of all.  

But Jesus called them together and said, 
“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, 
and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  
But among you it will be different. 
Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 
and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 
For even the Son of Man came not to be served 
but to serve others 
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
-Matthew 20:25-28 NLT
Even Jesus came to earth as a servant.  He washed the feet of the disciples at the last supper.  He humbled himself and took on the sins of the world...stripes upon His back...for us.  
I know, we hear it all the time.  We know the stories inside out.  But what happens when a hoarder has consumed so much that he/she doesn't even know what they have in their home or car?  Things start to rot and the stench starts to permeate the outside.  Their homes become cesspools of waste, vermin, disease.  They are killing themselves because something has happened and now everything is sentimental...they are unable to part with anything because they might need it, miss it or want it.  It is an altered sense of reality. Their ability to see beyond themselves is gone.  Our "Stuff" becomes our idols, our "Stuff" (in our altered state) becomes our source of happiness and peace. But that is not what God intended for our lives.  

 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, 
and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, 
and you will no longer worship idols.
 And I will give you a new heart, 
and I will put a new spirit in you. 
I will take out your stony, stubborn heart 
and give you a tender, responsive heart.
 And I will put my Spirit in you 
so that you will follow my decrees 
and be careful to obey my regulations.
-Ezekiel 36:25-27 NLT
How can I get out of this me, me, me, mentality?
Start by praying for someone else, more than you pray for yourself. (Not pointing out all their shortcomings but by praying blessings on them...when they are blessed, you will be blessed.)
Meet a need for someone, silently.  Just sit back and watch.  Let God get all the praise. (It doesn't have to be something big.  Do what you can...God will always give a giver something to give.)
As you start to become a servant, watch God give you a tender, responsive heart.  One thing that is 100% certain, You cannot out-give the LORD.  
Look how God blesses (My parents with all 8 great grandkids)
I know the "old" man has been there a long time.  They say that it took God a couple of plagues to get the Israelites out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the Israelites.  So, it takes time.  But we should be making progress.  Eventually, the walls have to fall...the "old" man has to die.  I shouldn't be the same as I was 20 years ago.  I shouldn't be the same as I was 10, 5 or even a year ago.  I want to be made new.  
When David had Uriah killed and the prophet Nathan called him out on it, David didn't rise up in rebellion against God and Nathan.  No, David cried out to God.  In Psalms 51...you can feel the repentance of David.  You can feel his grief over his sin.  Oh, how he let his lust and greed turn him into a murderer.  But David repented and his words are repeated throughout the ages..."Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me."  This is my hearts cry today and everyday.  

This is how we become servants of all.  This is how we get our vision corrected and see beyond what we want and need.  This is how the world is changed.  

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